Thomas King (1714-1798)

Thomas King was a planter typical of the independent small plantation owner that in the 1700s populated Virginia.   We rely on his sons' Revolutionary War records for his birth date of 1714.  He lived the last 40 years of his life at his small plantation, Meadowood, lying on the South Anna River near Deep Creek and Indian Creek in Louisa County, in the central piedmont of the colony of Virginia.


Thomas' first wife was named Sarah, based on the following land deed recorded in 1751 when Thomas was 37years of age:

Louisa County, Virginia  Deed Book A and B, 1742-1759. 

Abstracted and Compiled by Rosalie Edith Davis.  Bellevue, Washington 1976.  page 69:


"p.444-445.  16 Oct. 1751  Thomas King of St. Martin's Par., Louisa Co., Planter, and Sarah, his wife, to John Pettus of same, Gent.  (pounds)120 currt. money.  214 acres; part of a tract granted to Shirley Watley by patent 25 May 1734; conveyed to Joseph Wade 6 Oct. 1737; conveyed to William Harris, and by sd. Harris to sd. King by deed 28 Oct 1747.  The other part of afsd. land was bequeathed by the Last Will and Testament of Edward Bullock, dec'd., unto Lucy Tate, wife of William Tate; by same conveyed to Joseph Wade 6 Oct 1737; conveyed to William Harris; by Harris to sd. King 28 Oct 1747 of record in Hanover Co... corner of Wm Thomson's  in James Harris' line...Richard Davenport's line...David Smith's line...on Main Road to Elk Creek...south fork of Little Rocky Creek...another corner of David Smith's, up the Creek...John Hales's...Mark Wheeler's line.

                        Thomas King

                        Sarah King

Wit:  Richard Wright, William Pettus, John Wright, John Carter, William Berrey.

22 Oct. 1751 acknowledged by Thomas King.  Sarah, his wife, declared her consent."


[The deed shows Shirley Watley as the original patentee.  The spelling of 'Watley' in the Library of Virginia land patent index is 'Whatley'.]


This land patented by Watley on Elk Creek, Louisa County, is east of the town of Mineral and northeast of Frederick Hall and Bumpass, and now may be covered at least in part by Lake Anna.  It's about 15-20 miles from Meadowood, Thomas’s subsequent home. Thomas and Sarah lived on this land from October 1747 to October 1751.  We have no documentary evidence to prove that the Thomas King of Elk Creek is the same Thomas King subsequently found at Meadowood further west in Louisa County, but assume they are the same.


We are uncertain of Sarah’s family name.  Others have suggested it was Alexander, with a marriage in Culpepper, VA in 1745, and also possibly as Harrison, and possibly as Sackville by the descendants of his son, Walter King.  Sarah is presumed to be the mother of the first of Thomas’s children beginning about 1748 - Sackville, William, Thomas Jr., and Elisha.  By July 1758 we know Thomas was married to Tillah (Zillah) White and resided at Meadowood, his home for the next 40 years.  Tillah had received Meadowood as a share of her father’s estate.  Tillah may have been mother to John, Philip and Walter and probably the daughters, Margaret, Catherine, Martha, and Elizabeth.  Benjamin was born in 1767 and was the youngest son.  His mother was, almost certainly, Tillah (Zillah) since he named his first daughter Zilla.     

We know the children of Thomas King with reasonable certainty from the following deed showing the transfer by his heirs of a majority of his land to his youngest son, Benjamin. 


Deed Book I, Page 637   28 Dec 1798     

Sackville King & Ann (wife), William King &

Polly (wife), Thomas King, Elisha King & Judith (wife), John King & Sarah (wife), Phillip King & Nancy (wife), Margaret Telford & John (husband) Walter King & Nancy (wife), Catherine King, Martha King, Elizabeth King of Louisa of the one part and Benjamin King of the other part, for  £50 for 263 acres on both sides of Pamunkey River and joining land of James Winston, George Haywood on one side of the river, and John Ambler and John Powell on the other side   

[from the USGenWeb site for Louisa County:].


This land lies on the south branch of the Pamunkey River (now the South Anna River) near Deep Creek.  It is  approached via 522 to 647 (Harts Mill Road).

There were 12 children, 8 boys and 4 girls, born over a period of about 20 years.  They are presumably listed in the deed by age in descending order:  Sackville, William, Thomas Jr., Elisha, John, Phillip, Margaret, Walter, Catherine, Martha, Elizabeth, Benjamin


Sackville was born about 1748 and his mother must have been Sarah although we have no record of it.  Sackville at one point owned an "Ordinary" in Louisa, the term then used for what we would call a roadside tavern or pub, a place of meeting, drinking, eating and (probably) sleeping for travelers.  He also became an officer in the revolutionary army.  He married Ann Payne.  He and Ann subsequently moved westward in Virginia to Fluvanna and then Campbell County.


William was born about 1750 and his mother was also probably Sarah.  He also served in the army.  He married Mary (Polly) Woodson and subsequently moved to Campbell County, Virginia.  He and/or his descendants may have eventually moved to Monroe County, Alabama.


Thomas, Junior, we know little of at this time, but would place his birth at about 1752.  The deed above suggests that he was unmarried.  His will suggests that he remained in Louisa County all of his life.  As of yet no military record has been found.


Elisha was born in 1753 and served as an officer in the Continental line for three years.  He married Judith (?).  He received a large land grant in Ohio for his service and may have migrated there.


John was born in 1758.  He served in George Washington's personal guard (Life Guard).  He married Sarah LeMaster in Spartanburg, South Carolina, and remained there.


Phillip was born in 1760 and also served in the Continental army.  He was taken prisoner and escaped.  He married Nancy Woodson.  They eventually went to Tennessee.


Margaret King, presumably born about 1762, married John Telford and lived in Virginia.


Walter was born about 1764 in Louisa County.  He married Nancy Sevier and lived in Tennessee.


Catherine, Martha and Elizabeth have no information available.  At least one, Catherine, was probably born next, about 1766, and Martha and Elizabeth may have been born before or after Benjamin. 


Benjamin was the youngest son, born September 11, 1767, in Louisa County, Virginia.  Benjamin was too young to have served in the Revolutionary War.  He married Martha Haywood, became a Methodist minister and in 1803 moved west to Jefferson County, Kentucky.  In 1808 they moved to Posey Township, Harrison County, Indiana, where he lived the rest of his life.


The five-year gap between the birth of Elisha and John precedes the year 1758 when we know that Thomas was married to Tillah White.  Quite possibly during this time Thomas lost his first wife, Sarah.


One must also consider his slaves as members of Thomas King's family.  He had at various times over the years from three to five slaves named Ned, Cupid, Nan, James, Peter, and Harry. 

[from: Louisa County, Virginia.  Tithables and Census, 1743-1785.  Edited and Compiled by Rosalie Edith Davis, Manchester, Missouri, 1988.]


Nothing more is known of the slaves than the listing of their names.  No doubt they also had families but only the names of slaves over 16 were recorded.  There is no mention of them in the deed transferring Meadowood to Benjamin.  One cannot help but think, in view of Benjamin becoming a minister and eventually settling in the Northwest Territory, that he rejected slavery.  The Northwest Ordinance, passed by Congress in 1787, created the Northwest Territory as a slave-free territory in the land "North-West of the Ohio River."  [from:].



Thomas King and Family of Louisa County, Virginia

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